The Importance of Self Defense [Teen Article]

Joanna is an almost-fifteen-year-old residing in Chicago, IL. If she’s not reading, writing, listening to her iPod, hanging out with her friends or cooking, something may be wrong.

In this day and age, it is important to know how defend yourself. There are many defense classes, aids and tactics out there today that can be utilized to prevent an attack. In most cases of rape and domestic violence, women are the primary target.fight It should also be noted that in the majority of homicides committed by women (a number significantly less than men) are women attacking their abuser when they feel that their lives or the lives of their children are at risk.

Here are some facts on domestic violence from :


* Every day in the U.S., between 5 and 11 women are killed by a male intimate partner, between 1800 and 4000 per year.

* At least every 15 seconds a woman in the U.S. is beaten by her husband or boyfriend.

* The Surgeon General has reported for over 10 years that battering is the single largest cause of injury to U.S. women.

* Over 50% of all women will experience physical violence in intimate relationships. For about 25% of them, the battering will be regular and ongoing.

* Women of all class levels, educational backgrounds, and racial, ethnic, and religious groups are battered.

* Almost 90% of the hostage taking in the U.S. is domestic violence. Most hostages are the wives or female partners of the hostage takers, although children are frequently taken hostage.

* Children are present in 41-44% of homes where police intervene in domestic violence.

* At least 53% of all battering husbands also batter their children.

* 75% of women surveyed in some studies report that their children had been physically and/or sexually abused by their batterers.

*33% of teenage girls report physical violence from their date.

*21-30% of college students report at least one occurrence of physical assault with a dating partner.

* Between 25-45% of all battered women are abused during pregnancy.

* An estimated 10% of incidents of domestic violence are reported.

* The injuries battered women receive are at least as serious as injuries suffered in 90% of violent felony crimes, yet under state laws, they are almost always classified as misdemeanors.


[Facts compiled by the National Clearinghouse in Defense of Battered Women, Washington, D.C.]


Here are some facts on rape from (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), the largest sexual abuse help network in the U.S.


* Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

* College age women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted.

*15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.

* 29% are age 12-17.

* 44% are under age 18.

* 80% are under age 30.

* 12-34 are the highest risk years.

* Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

*7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.

* 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.

*In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.


* Of these, 75% were girls.

* Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.

*93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.


* 34.2% of attackers were family members.

* 58.7% were acquaintances.

* Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.


Victims of sexual assault are:


*3 times more likely to suffer from depression.


*6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.


*13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.


*26 times more likely to abuse drugs.


*4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.


Pregnancies Resulting from Rape


In 2004-2005, 64,080 women were raped. According to medical reports, the incidence of pregnancy for one-time unprotected sexual intercourse is 5%. By applying the pregnancy rate to 64,080 women, RAINN estimates that there were 3,204 pregnancies as a result of rape during that period.


Reporting Rates:

*Sexual assault is one of the most under reported crimes, with 60% still being left unreported.

*Males are the least likely to report a sexual assault, though they make up about 10% of all victims


Rapists’ Ties to the Victim:

*Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.

*73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.

*38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.

*28% are an intimate.

*7% are a relative.


He’s not Hiding in the Bushes


*More than 50% of all rape/sexual assault incidents were reported by victims to have occurred within 1 mile of their home or at their home.


* 4 in 10 take place at the victim’s home.

* 2 in 10 take place at the home of a friend, neighbor, or relative.

* 1 in 12 take place in a parking garage.


43% of rapes occur between 6:00pm and midnight.


* 24% occur between midnight and 6:00am.

* The other 33% take place between 6:00am and 6:00pm.


The Criminal


* The average age of a rapist is 31 years old.

* 52% are white.

* 22% of imprisoned rapists report that they are married.

* Juveniles accounted for 16% of forcible rape arrestees in 1995 and 17% of those arrested for other sex offenses.

* In 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated — 30% with alcohol, 4% with drugs.

* In 2001, 11% of rapes involved the use of a weapon — 3% used a gun, 6% used a knife, and 2 % used another form of weapon.

* 84% of victims reported the use of physical force only.


*Rapists are more likely to be a serial criminal than a serial rapist.


*46% of rapists who were released from prison were re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime.


* 18.6% for a violent offense.

* 14.8% for a property offense.

* 11.2% for a drug offense.

* 20.5% for a public-order offense.


Two key methods of self defense avoidance and awareness. For instance, say you are walking home from work and there are two routes you could take, a busy sidewalk or a narrow alley. You are less likely to be attacked on the busy sidewalk full of potential witnesses. Even so, when you walk down the sidewalk, be aware of your surroundings. There are also many products and impromptu weapons for self-defense. There is the classic pepper spray (now available in keychain and clever lipstick tube formats) or you can take your keys place them between your fingers (the jagged edges pointing out from your knuckles like wolverine from X-Men) this technique is an extemporaneous take on bronze-knuckles. There are also personal alarms you can use. If confronted most experts agree that your main goals should be: get away and attract the attention of others for help and in THAT order. A good example of this is, if it comes to physical confrontation, to punch your attacker in the nose so their eyes will tear up then run to the closest busy area and call the police. If you are the victim of domestic violence- that is to say, you are attacked by an intimate relation, partner, friend or family member- you CAN get help. Below are links to websites about rape and domestic violence.


RAINN- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

National Sexual Assault Hotline

At any given moment, more than 1,100 trained volunteers are on duty and available to help victims at RAINN-affiliated crisis centers across the country.


How does the National Sexual Assault Hotline work?


When a caller dials 1.800.656.HOPE, a computer notes the area code and first three digits of the caller’s phone number. The call is then instantaneously connected to the nearest RAINN member center. If all counselors at that center are busy, the call is sent to the next closest center. The caller’s phone number is not retained, so the call is anonymous and confidential unless the caller chooses to share personally identifying information.


Scarleteen- A sex education website, they also have many message boards and support groups on their website.

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